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Health Watch: New Study Says Reading To Young Children Helps Combat ADD

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Children with Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, have a very tough time behaving and paying attention in school.

But what if there were a non-drug with no bad side effect treatment that could help? CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez tells us its as simple as reading to your kids.

The prevalence of ADD in kids has been rising dramatically over the past decade. That often means medication and/or poor performance in school, which sets a child up for a lifetime of underachievement.

But a new study finds that reading loud to your kids can help, a lot.

Eugena Sanchez trained as a Very Involved Parent volunteer with Literacy, Inc. where she learned the importance of daily reading to her daughters.

"Yeah, I try almost every day," she said.

And at almost 3 and 6 years old, it's one of their favorite activities.

Now, a new study in the journal Pediatrics finds reading out loud to young children as well as engaging in pretend play can improve behavior problems related to hyperactivity and attention when they get to school.

"Better able to sit still. Better able to get along with friends or peers and teachers," said Dr. Alan Mendelsohn of NYU Langone Health.

Researchers looked at children from birth to 3 years old in a program that coached parents on reading and playing. It then followed the children after the program.
Mendelsohn, the author of the study, says parents should point out pictures and ask questions when reading stories.

'When parents provide children with the opportunity to kind of think about their feelings and those characters, it helps them to practice for when they're actually dealing with those feelings when they enter school," Mendelsohn said.

Sanchez said she reads to her children in both Spanish and English and says she's already noticed the benefits, especially with her youngest.

"I see other kids the same age, and they don't talk as much as she does," Sanchez said.

Setting her girls up for success in the classroom.

A second part of the study found positive impact on social and emotional development in kids who were read to from ages 3 through 5. In other words, from birth through age 5, reading aloud to your child not only will help them in school, it will also strengthen the bond between parents and children.

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